The Top 7 Health & Wellness Trends of 2019
Does it feel like 2018 just ended? That barely a month ago you were taking down your holiday decorations and toasting a new year? The year is passing us at lightning speed, and now it’s time to see how 2019 is playing out in the world of wellness.
In random order, here are some health and wellness trends that have risen to the surface this year. From minding your mental health to hitting it hard in the gym, it’s all about full-body fitness.
1. Self-Care Going Strong
Self. Care. These words were everywhere in 2018, and they continue to dominate in 2019. Although the concept of taking care of oneself isn’t new, the modern self-care movement has connected with people in a whole new way.
According to Psychology Today, self-care is a “holistic process that we all need in order to foster presence, engagement, wellness, and self-love.”1 The idea is to tend to your needs first so that you can be happier and healthier for those around you.
So what qualifies as a self-care activity? It varies from person to person. For some, it might mean carving out time to exercise each week. For others, it might include regular check-ins with a registered therapist. Speaking openly about mental is a highlight of 2019. In fact, for the first time in history, Barnes and Noble sold more mental health-themed books at New Year’s than it did diet- or exercise-themed books. 1 Whichever way you care for you, self-care is meant to be ongoing and enjoyable.
2. Unplugging for the Win
Over the past few years, wearable tech has been a big thing. Today, fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and other data-driven devices are smarter than ever. There’s no denying their power in helping people set goals and monitor personal progress.
And yet … there is a rising movement to unplug from all this tech and to take a more intuitive, human-led approach to wellness. To move, rest, and eat when it feels “right” or to seek support from real people – not gadgets.
This unplugging trend is also moving into the social media sphere. While the 45-plus age bracket is using social media more than before, young Gen Zers (people born after 1995) are slowly starting to quit or substantially decrease their use.3 The goal? Better connection, not more connections.
3. Anti-Diet Delight
In 2016, Bee Wilson published This Is Not a Diet Book: A User’s Guide to Eating Well. It helped spark the anti-diet movement we see today, where a whole genre of books aims to dismantle society’s rigid diet culture.
In a nutshell, the anti-diet movement encourages people to enjoy their food, eat when they’re hungry, let go of super-strict rules (like boycotting entire food groups), and stop tracking meals and exercise through apps or fitness trackers, as noted above. For people who have long been exhausted and confused by diets, this comes as a welcome change.
Rather than following strict fad diets, 2019 is the year of seeking one-on-one nutritional support. It’s gaining an understanding about what to eat and why so that you can use nutrition to fuel your body, not torture it.
4. HIIT Continuum
High-intensity interval training (or HIIT for short) is hardly new. Runners have used the interval approach – alternating between heart-pounding sprints and light jogging – for more than 100 years.4 But as society gets busier and busier, the need for shorter, more impactful workouts has increased.
Today, HIIT is the go-to exercise for time-strapped professionals, busy moms, and anyone else wanting to maximize their time in the gym or at home. You can find HIIT routines everywhere – at big exercise chains, at small fitness studies, on YouTube, on popular fitness site and apps, and of course, social media. With all this HIIT love, it’s no wonder why fitness professionals have recently voted HIIT the third top fitness trend for 2019 in a survey by the American College of Sports Medicine.5
5. Protein Everything
While fitness enthusiasts have long hailed the power of protein, it has only recently gained mass appeal. Today, people seek protein-rich versions of nearly everything they eat or drink. This explains why the snack aisle – once virtually void of protein – now contains chips, crackers, popcorn, and other foods fortified with protein. While this is a good step in the right direction, these high-carb snacks typically only contain small amounts of protein. If you want to get a more substantial serving, a high-protein shake or bar is a better option.
So why the sudden love of protein? Consumers are more aware of its role in helping to improve lean body mass, reduce hunger in between meals, and maintain energy throughout the day. If you’re not already on the healthy protein bandwagon, it’s never too late to hop on!
6. Rise of the Plant
For many food and supplement brands, things are looking greener in 2019. According to the Good Food Institute, plant-based food and beverage sales in 2018 exceeded $3.7 billion in the United States (rising 17% over 2017) and continue to soar.6
A plant-based diet is no longer limited to vegans and vegetarians; it’s crossed over into mainstream for anyone to enjoy at their own level. Take “Flexitarians” – people who are eating less meat without giving it up entirely. Whether they’re doing Meatless Mondays or finding other ways to reduce their meat intake, their diet is still versatile. Flexitarians are embracing lentils, beans, peas, nuts, and plant-based protein powders to help fill the gap. While health is the key driver, people are also going the plant-based route due to concern about animal welfare, production systems, and the impact of livestock production on the environment.7
In 2019, people are more conscious than ever about reducing their carbon footprint and reversing environmental damage. One hot topic has been our reliance on plastic products and finding more sustainable options. Some brands, like Starbucks, are stepping up in a big way by vowing to stop making disposable plastic straws by the year 2020. Then there are brands like Rothy’s, which makes comfortable, washable shoes repurposed from plastic bottles.
Not surprisingly, the eco-friendly trend has carried into health and wellness. Labrada Nutrition is leading the charge with its recyclable Lean Body RTD. The carton is made largely from paper sourced from sustainably managed forests, and its cap is 100% plant-based, derived from sugar cane. Why does this matter? Because we don’t just want our favorite brands to do no harm; we want them to be a force for good.
Health and wellness trends are always changing, but some principles – like eating a well-rounded diet and keeping your body in motion – never go out of style. When you invest in yourself and the bigger world around you, you’ll thrive in any calendar year.
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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.